Happiness is something that we spend our lives chasing, but happiness, in a lasting way, is elusive. What does it mean to be happy and is happiness alone a goal worth achieving? I know that many of the days that I feel happiest are days that I can’t remember a week later. Meanwhile, times when I was miserable I look back upon with great fondness.
I often say that it doesn’t take much to make me happy. A walk around the lake on a nice day, a rainy afternoon spent inside with a good book, hearing a great album or watching a great film for the first time, all make me happy. But often the day at large, when such a thing as a good book or a nice walk is experienced, often fades away, never again to be remembered. Meanwhile there have been plenty of days traveling, where at the time I know that I was tired and miserable, that I now thank the heavens that I had the opportunity to experience.
I played football growing up. Football doubles is when you had two practices a day for two weeks before school started. They were miserable. You were wearing too much gear in the heat. You weren’t in shape yet for the season so you were always tired. Your body was sore, you were constantly getting bitched out, and mentally you were done for. However, now I look upon those days happily. I remember spending time with my friends. I take a certain pride in having been able to endure the physical test of such a situation.
There have also been many moments on tour where I have been pretty near complete mental collapse. It usually happens about three or four days into a tour before my body adjusts to the crazy schedule. There is usually some point on a tour when I wish to god I was anywhere else. “Please lord,” I say to myself, “let the cops taser me, arrest me, and put me in solitary confinement just so I can sleep and be alone for a little while.” But looking back there isn’t one tour I’m not glad that I went on. I feel lucky to have had those experiences.
So we say that we want to be happy, but do we really? As Americans we literally have the pursuit of happiness in our founding. I was watching some British show the other day where they were talking about how Americans are better at happiness then they are. But maybe it is that pursuit that is important and not the actual happiness itself. Even the happiest days of our lives will one day vanish. But as long as we’re alive we will remember when we pushed ourselves to try something new, even if didn’t make us happy at the time.